Manchester United dropped two points at home to Arsenal on Saturday as Olivier Giroud levelled it up in the 89th minute.
Man United looked to be on course for the three points courtesy of a strike from Juan Mata, only for Arsenal to score via their first shot on target right at the death.
So what did we learn from a match in which both teams left with a point?
Antonio Valencia Has Become Mourinho’s Most Indispensable Outfield Player
When Jose Mourinho took over it looked like Valencia’s Manchester United career may have been winding down. No longer trusted to have an impact as an attacking winger, not completely convincing at full back. However, this season the Ecuadorian has been a revelation at right back. His positional awareness has been vastly improved from a defensive point of view.
Juan Mata is usually selected as Mourinho’s outside right and with the Spaniard’s tendency to drift inside Valencia’s willingness to exploit the space on the right wing has been a massive plus for United. Dominate the right side of the pitch all day.
Alexis Sanchez Doesn’t Provide a Focal Point for Arsenal’s Attack When Played as a Number Nine
Arsenal’s star man struggled to have any real impact on the game from his starting position. The Chilean found himself having to drop very deep particularly in the first half to get involved in the game. With Sanchez wandering so far out of position Arsenal’s midfielders were often short on options for a forward pass.
Olivier Giroud’s impact off the bench this season has highlighted Sanchez’ shortcomings even further.
Anthony Martial’s Application Fails to Match His Undoubted Talent
Coming off the back of an impressive debut season for United, Martial has rarely forced his way into the starting line-up this season and been largely ineffective when he has. Too often the young Frenchman floats on the periphery of games, today was no different. He drew two comfortable saves from Petr Cech but offered little else.
For a player with such blistering pace he shows a baffling reluctance to run beyond his marker without the ball. Mourinho lost patience with the former Monaco man hooking him off just after the hour mark. Needs to impose himself on games rather than waiting for opportunities to fall at his feet.
Özil On The Missing List Again
Mesut Özil is one of the best players in football to watch when things are going his way. Technically gifted, vision, balance and an extraordinary range of passing. On his day he alone is worth paying the admission fee to see but when a big game rolls around manager
Arsene Wenger could seriously consider printing the German playmaker’s image on a raft of milk cartons because he may as well have not been on the pitch for large patches of this game. Too often anonymous when Arsenal are up against it.
Big Problems in Defence for Man United
When the starting line-ups went live this afternoon the centre back pairing of Phil Jones and Marcus Rojo would have been a major concern for many United fans. In truth Arsenal offered very little going forward grabbing a late equaliser from the one chance they created. Marcus Rashford didn’t do enough to stop Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Daley Blind wasn’t in a position to cover and the quality of the cross created panic in the box.
United’s defence failed to answer the only question asked of them on the day.